MISSOULA — Montana men’s basketball used a second-half surge to beat Coopenae Arba, 63-51, Friday in San Jose, Costa Rica, in its first of two games on its foreign trip.
The Griz were scheduled to play the Costa Rica national team, but the opponent was changed to Coopenae Arba, a club team out of San Ramon with three to four Americans, Montana associate head coach Chris Cobb told the Missoulian in an email.
“They were changed due to youth of the national team and to try to give us as much competition as they could,” Cobb wrote.
Redshirt junior guard Donaven Dorsey led all players with 16 points in 14 minutes of action. Freshman forward Karl Nicholas scored 10 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and had a game-high plus-minus of plus-15 in 15 minutes. Freshman guard Timmy Falls scored seven points and had a plus-minus of plus-14.
The Griz outscored Coopenae Arba 12-3 in the second five minutes of the 10-minute third quarter to turn a 30-30 game into a 42-33 lead. They upped their lead to 54-41 midway through the fourth quarter and held on for the win.
Montana fell behind 13-3 in the opening five minutes but pulled within 15-13 after one quarter. The teams were knotted 24-24 at the half.
The Griz shot 28.8 percent (19 of 66) from the field, 35.9 percent (14 of 39) on 2-pointers and 18.5 percent (5 of 27) on 3-pointers. They were 66.7 percent (20 of 30) at the free-throw line.
Montana’s three returning starters were held to 13 combined points. Redshirt junior guard Ahmaad Rorie had nine points, six rebounds and two assists in 25 minutes. Senior forward Fabijan Krslovic had four points — all on free throws — and five rebounds in 18:15. Junior guard Michael Oguine was held scoreless in 16:01.
The Griz will play their second and final exhibition game Saturday against Laurentian University, a college from Sudbury, Ontario.
They will remain in Costa Rica until Aug. 8. While in San Jose and Los Suenos, they’ll volunteer at an orphanage, homeless shelter, food bank, health center and animal farm. They’ll also visit a crocodile viewing site and a zip-line exhibit to close their trip.